Prevention Through Education
Prevention isn’t a new concept. Seatbelts. Vaccines. Condoms. Helmets…. Education?
Traditional gender roles are still entrenched in the culture of Cambodia, often leading to a lack of want or will to allow girls to access an education. Instead, girls are utilized to stay home to complete household chores, care for their younger siblings, or find unskilled work to supplement the family income. This is a prevalent issue worldwide; of the 60 million primary aged children who should be in school but are not, 60% of them are female.
The International Labour Organisation states that “getting girls into schools and keeping them there is vital to reducing their vulnerability to trafficking,” while UNESCO report that there are currently 25,697 girls in Cambodia who should be in primary school but are not, and a further 119,972 girls who should be in grades 7-9 but are not.
Education equips girls with benefits such as: healthier lives, smaller family size, status in the community, and improved lives for future generations. When they are denied an education, these gains are withheld from them. Even more critically, children in the most marginalized communities with the lowest levels of education, or none at all, are the easiest targets for traffickers to manipulate because they are more likely to accept the false promise of lower paid and unskilled work, such as construction or domestic servitude. Once granted access to education, girls are physically protected by sitting in the classroom, and by becoming more self-assured and empowered through their academic achievements they become more able to make decisions, critically evaluate situations, and exert control over their own lives. Evidence suggests that even keeping children in school until age 16 dramatically reduces their likelihood of being trafficked, and will significantly improve their standard of living.
We work with:
- Girls who have never been to school
- Girls who have discontinued – or are on the verge of discontinuing – their education
- Girls left to live independently, caring for younger siblings
- Girls living with grandparents or aunts who have little ability to keep them in school
- Girls who work to financially support their families
- Girls living with family violence